October 2018 bookmarks

One Small Step for the Web…
I’ve always believed the web is for everyone. That’s why I and others fight fiercely to protect it. The changes we’ve managed to bring have created a better and more connected world.
Why re-use is the best design (because civil servants are users too)
In government, we have access to lots of research and design patterns that have been tried and tested. If someone else has already solved a problem, we can reuse their design. This saves time and money and creates a consistent experience for the user.
Seeing Data
Seeing Data is a group of research projects which aim to understand the place of data visualisations (like those in the examples below) in society. This website includes information about projects which have been completed, are currently underway, or are about to start.
Productivity to the Max: Kevin Hoffman on Designing Better Meetings
Information architect and design strategist Kevin Hoffman is passionate about improving meetings. It led him to write his first book, “Meeting Design,” in which he explains that meetings don’t have to be “painfully inefficient snoozefests” and suggests treating them as a design problem.
Fillet your findings
In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway tells this story. One day, Santiago goes out to sea, much further than other fisherman go. He engages in a herculean struggle to catch an enormous marlin. He thrashes all day and all night. The fight nearly kills him.
Diagram generator
I’ve released the software to generate a mental model diagram. You can feed your spreadsheet to it and a mental model diagram (the top half of an opportunity map) will appear on the page. The software expects your data to be in a certain format.
Building a service design team from scratch
I was recently asked by a client what they should consider when they were thinking about building a service design team from scratch. It made me think about how we went about building out our service design team from scratch.
Everybody Hurts: Content for Kindness
Last month, I gave the most difficult talk I’ve ever given. It’s about something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently: making our content and design work for people who don’t fit our narrow perception of “normal.” Here’s the description:
Digital Accessibility course — week one
Last week I began a five week FutureLearn course to up my accessibility knowledge. User experience refers to any experience of a user that is related to that technology.
Creating a Design Facilitation Practice
A disorganized or inefficient meeting is a workplace pain. At best, it’s a waste of time, and at worst, it creates new problems. Luckily, there’s a solution: creating a facilitation process to transform your meetings into what they should have been all along.
Internet-era ways of working
An earlier draft of this list, stuck to the PD office door Our definition of digital says: “Applying the culture, processes, business models & technologies of the internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations.” Once they’ve heard that, the next thing people always ask us is: “OK.
Building what’s useful: governance and agile delivery
I’ve had lots of conversations with colleagues in the Co-op about working in agile ways.
The Most Important Role In Your Design Org: Team Lead
Discussions of design leadership tend to look upward, toward the executives and directors who sit atop the organization.
How Typography Can Save Your Life — ProPublica
After decades of silently shouting at the top of its lungs, the National Weather Service recently announced that it’s going to stop publishing its forecasts and weather warnings in ALL CAPS. Beginning May 11, for the first time ever, we’ll start seeing mixed-case letters.
Designing inclusively
First sent to my private mailing list. Whilst the web is still young, it’s been around long enough for us to know about its power and its constraints. We know what these constraints are now because we’ve bent them so much over the years.
How much documentation to include in a style guide?
It’s a question I often hear from the design systems teams I work with. The short answer is: include as much or as little documentation as needed. The longer answer is: it depends. Alright, now I’ll quit messing around and explain a bit more.
One Chart, Nine Tools – Revisited
Tableau Public What can I say - Tableau Public works well for data like this. The embedded graphic is too massive to actually use it in an article, but it’s one of my favorite tool for exploration.
Design Systems — the means, not the end
When I bought my first house, it was a busy time, I just needed to get stuff done and quickly! Not unlike the teams a lot of us now work with. They looked good in the store, I’d check the material, open and close the doors, etc and then I’d load up the car and be on my way home.
It can be difficult to make data from information
The Digital Land services team recently ran a discovery in which we researched the barriers our users encounter when trying to find and use housing data. This is the first in a series of posts about those barriers, or what people sometimes call ‘friction’.
Designing Accessible Content: Typography, Font Styling, and Structure
Creating and designing accessible content means more than just choosing accessible typography. Even with “perfect” font families in place on your website, people with low vision, cognitive, language, and learning disabilities may still struggle to process the text. 
User research is a team sport
‘User research is a team sport’ is the most powerful thing I’ve learned in government. Forget user needs. Forget discovery, alpha, beta, live. Forget agile. Forget the service standard and service assessments. This is the one thing I would save in a fire.
What I learned as an interaction designer at DataJam North East
The event aimed to bring the data and service design communities closer together and help solve problems affecting the North East region by holding both a hack (an intensive collaboration on a data or software project) and a free-form discussion called an unconference as part of the same event.